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Ranking Member Courtney's Opening Remark For House Armed Services Subcommittee On Seapower And Projection Forces Hearing On Amphibious Warfare In A Contested Environment

May 18, 2017
Press Release
(As prepared for delivery)

“Thank you Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing on the future of Amphibious Warfare in a contested environment.

As we have heard throughout our hearings this year, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team must be prepared to meet new challenges as our potential adversaries are rapidly improve their tactics and technologies to counter America’s longstanding superiority.  This challenge is particularly true in examining the future of amphibious warfare.

The United States Navy and Marine Corps team remains the most lethal and advanced amphibious force ever put to sea.  As recent events around the world have shown, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.  Rather, we must continue to adapt and advance new technologies, tactics, and operational concepts to maintain our capacity to strike from the sea wherever needed and whenever called.

However, we must also recognize the realities and limitations of existing platforms, equipment, and personnel who have not engaged in a contested amphibious assault from the sea in more than six decades.  We must explore not only how these platforms can be modernized to maintain relevancy but also examine how new technologies and operational concepts can be employed to ensure America’s security and to respond to world crises.

Since the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle in 2011, the Navy and Marine Corps have wrestled with what the right distance is for the Marines to disembark the ship and what type of vehicle that should be in. This is not an easy debate and is one I am sure we will talk more about today. However, there is more to this than just what distance an amphibious ships should launch its vehicles from or what type of vehicles those should be. Our military is a joint force and will always operate that way in any contingency, so we need to be talking about how to fully integrate our amphibious forces and ensure they are leveraging the technologies that are other forces are relying on. 

I have no doubt of the value that our amphibious force provides in responding to an array of contingencies from supporting  non-combatant evacuation operations to being the on scene responder to the world’s next humanitarian disaster.  However, I also recognize that modeling, simulation, and exercises predicated on uncontested amphibious operations are becoming more outdated by the day.  We must be trained, ready, and equipped to operate in a contested environment.

Today we welcome two experts in this field Mr. Jesse Sloman and Dr. Brad Martin, to help us better understand the many underlying challenges of operating in a contested littoral environment.

I thank them for being here today and I look forward to their testimony.”